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100% premium: Novartis buys antibiotics specialists Neutec Pharma

21.07.2006

London – Another UK biotech company was taken over when Novartis signed a recommended all-cash offer worth Euro435 million for the antibiotics specialists Neutec pharma. The Swiss pharma giant paid more than twice of the Manchester-based company’s market capitalization before the takeover approach. Buying Neutec gives Novartis access to two advanced stage antibody products for serious hospital-acquired infections: Mycograb, for treating systemic fungal infections and Aurograb, for treating methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Daniel Vasella, CEO of Novartis, said the products “promise to dramatically improve treatments in the area and will also enable Novartis to strengthen its biologics pipeline and anti-infective drug portfolio.” Mycograb has been filed in Europe and has been approved for compassionate use, while Aurograb is in phase III. NeuTec has retained 100% ownership of its products. The buyout is a big payday for the founders Ruth Mathews and James Burnie, who still own a 7% stake. During the takeover negotiations the founders secured NeuTecs operations at the current facility in Manchester for at least two years. The sale of the company came just three weeks after AstraZeneca agreed to buy Cambridge Antibody for Euro1.1 billion. Besides the Neutec deal the antibiotics market has seen amany known players disappear. One of the most prominent was the US-based Vicuron, bought by Pfizer for $1.9 billion. New companies have nevertheless emerged as Roche (Basilea), Sanofi-Aventis (Novexel), Sandoz (Nabriva) and Bayer (Aicuris) span out their infectious disease businesses.

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